Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Both Sides Now by Haley Westenra.
The idea of Monday's Muse is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.
What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.
New World Order by Ben Jeapes.
Jeapes departs from his usual high-tech, military sf to create an action-packed, low-tech sf-alternative history for the Civil War in the seventeenth-century England. Jeapes employs alien invaders, under the leadership of Dhon Do, to end the English Civil War. The incursion produces a predictable clash of cultures that results in improbable alliances: Charles II and Cromwell, and Dhon Do and his half-English son, Daniel, who sympathize with the conquered English. Jeapes' characterization is first-rate. Both historical and fictional characters are well realized, especially Dhon Do and Daniel, thoughtful men, clearly conflicted about their duties in a new world order--definitely not stock teen action-adventure heroes. The riveting story has enough twists and turns, battles and bloodshed to intrigue even hardcore sf fans, but readers will also get a painless lesson in English history. Give this to teens who have read Harry Turtledove's Guns of the South, in which South Africans from the future alter the outcome of the U.S. Civil War. --Chris Sherman, Booklist.
Chu Ju's House by Gloria Whelan.
One girl too many . . .
When a girl is born to Chu Ju's family, it is quickly determined that the baby must be sent away. After all, the law states that a family may have only two children, and tradition dictates that every family should have a boy. To make room for one, this girl will have to go.
Fourteen-year-old Chu Ju knows she cannot allow this to happen to her sister. Understanding that one girl must leave, she sets out in the middle of the night, vowing not to return.
With luminescent detail, National Book Award-winning author Gloria Whelan transports readers to China, where law conspires with tradition, tearing a young woman from her family, sending her on a remarkable journey to find a home of her own.
Paradise by Joan Elizabeth Goodman.
In 1542, when sixteen-year-old Marguerite is selected by her uncle, the Sieur de Roberval, as one of the young women to accompany him on his voyage to the New World, she seizes the chance to escape the oppressive household of her father. Marguerite persuades her forbidden young lover, Pierre, to join the voyage so they can be wed when they reach Canada. But when Marguerite and Pierre are caught together on the ship, they are banished to the tiny, wild Isle of Demons, off the coast of Quebec—and their voyage to freedom becomes a fight for their very survival. Inspired by the true story of Marguerite de La Rocque, Paradise is a gripping novel of adventure, courage, love, and hardship.
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen.
Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?
As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.
With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her.
The Ring by Bobbie Pyron.
Pyron’s debut introduces Mardie, a 15-year-old who drinks, smokes pot, does poorly in school and generally disappoints her family. Stumbling across the boxing class at her stepmother’s gym isn’t an instant fix, but when she does hit rock bottom (getting arrested for shoplifting shortly after she catches the boy she’s been seeing cheating on her), it offers her a lifeline to help put her life back together. Inspired by her coach, Kitty, Mardie focuses on boxing and her mandated community service at a home for special needs children, becoming physically and emotionally grounded. Mardie’s journey is far from smooth, as her family’s internal struggles and her falling-out with her best friend dominate much of her time. Although the action sequences are well written, it’s Mardie’s character development that will hook readers: she’s plenty capable of making mistakes, but just as able to eventually learn from them. It’s standard problem novel material, but Pyron does an admirable job of conveying teenage troubles while generally avoiding the feel of an after-school special, and hits at social issues like racism and homophobia without proselytizing. Publisher's Weekly.